April 19, 2011

Congress helps small business dig out before the IRS digs in

Just over a year ago when President Obama, then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., rammed Obamacare through Congress, no one really knew what was in the 2,700 pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). But small business soon learned that it wasn't so.

March 11, 2011

School ‘levy equalization’ funds under legislative scrutiny

Most school districts in the state of Washington collect voter-approved levy funds to fill the gap between what the state allocates for education and the actual cost of quality staff and programs for students. School taxes paid by property owners are based on two metrics, the fixed dollar amount set by the district and the total assessed value of all properties within the district.

February 1, 2011

CCIA organization is still going strong

For those of you who may be wondering why Concerned Citizens In Action has not been in the news lately, it's because we are doing our job. And many of our local government officials are doing theirs. We continue to attend most local city and port meetings, as well as occasional planning and local service agency meetings. We talk with the pubic who attend, listen to their concerns, and try to pass along this information to our elected officials. We also sit down and talk with those same officials, discussing our observations, providing input, and also listening to their plans, concerns, and visions.

January 25, 2011

Paychecks beat unemployment checks

The hardest thing an employer has to do is to call someone into the office and tell them the business isn't making enough money to keep them on. Handing a hard worker a pink slip is tough because often the boss knows the employees and their families --their kids go to school together or they attend the same church. It is a terrible choice, but one that must be made to save the business -- and the jobs of other employees. The anguish of having to lay someone off can haunt an employer. On the other end, the hardest thing a worker endures is coming home and telling their spouse and children they lost their job. Our family has been on both ends of this scenario.

January 11, 2011

New Year’s resolutions for the Washougal

I was encouraged to put together a list of resolutions for the City of Washougal in early 2010 and while the list was ambitious, I am happy to report we have substantially started or completed all but two items that were on that list. I anticipate the same success on the 2011 resolutions.

December 28, 2010

Major road projects get underway

Over the next two years there are two major road projects being undertaken that will help position Washougal and Camas to better accommodate traffic and infrastructure needs for many decades to come.

November 30, 2010

Washougal’s budget problems run deep

The City of Washougal is short of money in its general fund and its enterprise funds for our water, storm water, and sewer utilities. The problem is a structural imbalance between revenues and expenses. In other words, we are spending more than we are bringing in.

November 2, 2010

Lame duck could cripple the economy

If you thought the election year rancor and political mudslinging was over, think again. Late last month, Congress slipped out of DC without passing a budget, guaranteeing the House and Senate will be back in session after Nov. 2.

October 21, 2010

County has ‘Cadillac’ employee benefits plan

In 2005, I was surprised to discover that Clark County employees contributed nothing to insurance premiums for medical, dental, vision, long-term disability and life insurance.

August 24, 2010

Jobless benefits a vicious cycle for employers

Finding a job is the best substitute for an unemployment check, but as more and more Americans exhaust their jobless benefits, employment opportunities remain sparse. In July, the state unemployment rate was 8.6 percent, down from 9.5 percent a year ago; however, in parts of Washington it is in double-digits. The Portland-Vancouver metro area reports 13.3 percent unemployment, about the same as last year. Economists worry that it may take years for our economy to return to its peak of a couple of years ago.